Processing demand modulates the effect of spatial attention on the judged duration of a brief stimulus
How does attention influence the judged duration of a brief stimulus? In the four experiments reported here, we show that the effect of spatial attention on duration judgment depended on the processing demand of the concurrent nontemporal task. When participants had to perform a speeded letter discrimination task in addition to duration rating, the judged duration was longer at a cued location than at an uncued location regardless of whether the cue was exogenous or endogenous. However, when the same stimuli were presented but no concurrent nontemporal task was required, duration was judged to be shorter at the cued location compared to uncued locations. Furthermore, while spatial attention influenced duration judgment, no objectbased attentional effects were found. These findings suggest that although spatial attention plays an important role in the judged duration of a briefly presented stimulus, its effect is mediated by the processing demand of the task.